About Me

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I am an aspiring writer living and working in Hull. I working on a novel, as well as writing short stories to keep my writing skills fresh. I decided to start a writing blog to connect with other writers. So please, take a look around and leave some comments - I'd love to read some of your writing blogs too. Nari X

Monday, 17 October 2011

Cake and Sloe Gin

So much for every Sunday... It just so happened that my last two Sundays have been the busiest ever. One of these was the Hubby's birthday, involving painstaking cake crafting, which was much more trouble than it was worth, I feel. It tasted good though, and Rob was suitably impressed. I had a crisis with the icing, and had to resort to butter icing, then ran out of butter. It worked out in the end though. 

My other latest project in the kitchen department is making Sloe Gin. I was introduced to Sloe gin a couple of years back and absolutely love the stuff. It's a very warming Winter and Christmas drink.

My father-in-law part owns a farm in Essex, on which he grew up, and we went to visit the farm in August. Whilst there, we noticed how many hundreds of Sloes and blackberries there were on the bushes, so we went picking crazy. It was wonderful - the four of us picking berries until it got dark and we couldn't see well enough to pick anymore. I came home with 2Kg of Sloes and 500g of blackberries.
I only realised later, however, that it was far too early to pick sloes. Oh well. So I put them in the freezer until I was ready to make the Sloe Gin - some people favour this method, some people say it's bad because it waters it down. Well, we shall see.
It's looking quite red at the moment, so I'm hopeful. Anyway, I'll keep you posted on how that one goes.

A post or two ago, I told you about a good friend of mine who is a textiles designer - well she now has her shop up and running. Please head over and take a look at 'Summertimehols' - she has some stunning work for sale.

News on the study - well, we've cleared it, so there's now room for a desk. However, we need to wait for my first paycheck before we can even consider getting one. I'm considering drawing one on the wall in the meantime. Maybe it would trick me into working... I don't know, though, I have to say it really is rather comfortable sat here lounged across the sofa with a blanket round my legs. I do have the house to myself, though, so himself isn't playing Xbox and shouting at the screen to distract me. Men.

As far as writing goes of late, well it's mostly been sermons. With the holiday months this quarter, we were quite short staffed, and so those of us still training and usually only allowed 3 services a quarter were given four. That alongside the assignments for the training and the new job and various other commitments, I'm afraid I've not been finding much time. And I know it;s the age-old excuse.
My problem is, I simply haven;t got used to it all yet, so I'm gradually starting to make the best use of my time...(very gradually). I find that even when I do have time to sit down and write, it;s the last thing I feel like doing, or I just don't have any ideas or anything to write. I fear this could be one of the big challenges for NaNoWriMo. But what's life without a good challenge?

So, does anyone have any words of wisdom about time management? How have you learned to focus when you have a short amount of time with which to work?


  1. Nice cake!

    I dream of the day when I can buy a big oak writing desk with drawers and carvings and everything. I have settled for IKEAs cheapest for now. Though Stephen King says that no writer should have a good desk because it takes away from the actual writing. He wrote his first novel on his lap because he and his wife were too poor for a desk (or anywhere big enough to fit one in!). You are in good company, my dear.

    The only tip that I have ever found vaguely useful with time management is that I took to never ending the day at the end of a chapter. I always wrote the first sentence of the next chapter before stopping. That meant I avoided all the procrastination over starting again the next day as I felt already into the flow.

    However, I now procrastinate by commenting on other people's blogs...

  2. That's a good bit of advice, thanks Chloe. It's true - it;s always good to plan ahead and get an idea of what you're writing next session.

    I just find that I concentrate more when I work at a desk, it feels more structured and organised, rather than happening to have a laptop on my lap. Does that make sense? Probably not.
    Not a bad way to procrastinate, blog commenting... :P
    Nari X

  3. The concept of wanting a desk to write on emphasises the need you have to preserve a work ethos when it comes to your writing. As a comedy writer I admire Vic Reeve and Bob Mortimer when I found out they rent an inner city office that they have to commute to, almost like a nine to five job.
    I see your friend Cloe has read Stephen Kings book "On Writing", ( I recommend the audio version because SK reads it to you). I followed his advice to cut down the amount of television viewing I do. He didn't put it quite as politely as that and said, "wean yerself off the glass tit fer chrissakes." I'm not fully weaned but I no longer get drawn into tv serials or series that compels you to make a commitment to become a faithful follower each week.
    Anyway, back to writing. I try and write whenever I have time on my own. Whenever I do write it is at the expense of something else that you could be doing. As long as it is not at tje expense of my partner Karen, and indeed Nari your new husband. Is he your first reader?
    I don't think you need any of the above, all you want is a desk.
    If there is anyone out there who has a good well loved, preferably antique desk.... please give this girl a desk ;-)

  4. I work for the biggest high street stationery company in the country (Ry...) so I know about the desk quandarry. Do I need something big? How much should I spend? The list goes on. To get underway I would suggest something modest, but I would definitely advise having one. I think my friend Lynn is still the manager in your local store so have a look and see if they have a decent sized ex-display model she might let you have discounted. It improves the writing experience.
    As for time-management. I completed my military career in '92 but I still wake at about 6.30, even on my days off.
    I don't try to write when I'm tired, or time is tight because it becomes a task rather than an activity to be enjoyed.
    If I was only able to write two days a week it would be on days I didn't go to work.
    Routine; up, showered, dressed, fed ... write! Do it for as long as possible. Routine is the key no matter how much time you 'think' you have. Remember before, I suggested a dedicated place for your desk/writing, well isn't it strange how only a couple of comments later we've reached a dedicated schedule.
    Getting it all set up will be a joy and I'm sure Rob will want to play his part.

  5. Regarding a desk, the kitchen table has served as mine for a good while. I have no prospect of getting myself a study until my three-year-old moves out of her room and starts sharing with her big sister. Would it make a difference? Well I've been at desks in my time, in student halls of residence, when I lived with my parents... don't think so. I've grown comfortable here, and I've got a nice view of the garden. I agree with you Nari though, sitting with the laptop on the arm of the sofa feels more like relaxing than work

    With time management, I actually think it can be a bonus to only have a small amount of time available each day. That way you HAVE to be focussed and get something down. You'll only feel worse if not because you'll never get that hour or so back... and then have to wait another 24! I can only write last thing at night, which is not my preferred option, because I can be so tired that it becomes a drag. Then all the planning and ideas I've had during the day seem to drain away. I do get one morning a week when the tiny one goes to playgroup. Much prefer the mornings.

    Anyway I will stop rambling on. Nice blog, BTW. Like the background. :)

  6. John - I do fancy giving it a read now. Unfortunately TV is a terrible vice for me. An computer games.. But I've been quite good recently with my evenings, writing letters or blogging instead of watching Mock The Week. Rob is my first reader, yeah. To be honest if ever I'm writing, he's perfectly happy on his iPhone or Xbox lol.
    Tom - thanks for the suggestion, I will have a look for a stationary company beginning with RY... :P You're absolutely right about routine - I'm slowly getting into one with work.
    Nick - pleased to meet you :) It's true, often working under pressure gives you that kick up the bum to actually get something done. I definitely prefer writing in the morning these days, as, like you, I am so tired by the time it gets to evening.
    Thanks for the comments, everyone :)
    Nari X